Gun-rights advocates have raised doubts about the effectiveness and legality of a gun ban law in Illinois. Since its inception, the ban has faced challenges from Republicans, particularly in conservative counties in Downstate Illinois. Some sheriffs in these areas have publicly stated that they will not fully enforce the new law.
Illinois already boasts some of the strictest gun restrictions in the United States; however, state-by-state firearms laws have their limitations. Officials in Chicago have consistently cited neighboring Indiana, with its more lenient gun laws, as a key source of illegally obtained firearms used in shootings within the city.
Opponents of the Illinois law have also referenced a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the New York case of New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen as evidence that broad gun bans in Illinois will not withstand scrutiny. In this case, the Supreme Court affirmed that Americans possess a broad right to carry weapons in public and struck down a New York law that imposed rigorous restrictions on carrying guns outside of the home.
Looking ahead, further legal battles are expected. Governor J.B. Pritzker welcomed the recent ruling, commending the gun ban as a “common sense gun reform law” designed to keep dangerous weapons away from streets, schools, malls, parks, and places of worship. He posited that the court’s decision is a victory for advocates, survivors, and families as the law stands as a leading measure in combating gun violence and saving numerous lives.
Nevertheless, the law continues to face challenges in the federal appeals court. Several pending federal lawsuits before the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago argue that such sweeping firearms restrictions infringe upon Second Amendment rights.
Richard Pearson, the executive director of the Illinois State Rifle Association, an organization that supports gun rights, expressed no surprise at the court’s decision in a statement. Pearson indicated that his organization aims to contest the law in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, hoping for a victory that will have nationwide implications, benefiting law-abiding gun owners beyond just Illinois.